12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12
A young man in the ministry has to prove himself, not in his performance, but in his behavior. It’s tough being both young and believable. Because of the lack of gray hairs, the tendency is to write off a young guy, or to put him “out to pasture” like David in a ministry over even younger people or things.
You have no credibility, that is, unless you are of stellar character. Then the people start to take notice, and by the authority of your words backed by your deeds, they will follow.
Timothy was probably 30 years of age at the time 1 Timothy was written. We get this possibly from the fact that the Greek word for “youth” here is “neotes,” meaning a grown-up man of military age up to the 40th year.
If you can fight a war, I guess you can lead a group of believers, if and only if, from my understanding of scripture, you have given up childish things (1 Cor. 13:11), if you have been regularly eating a diet of solid food (Hebrews 5:14), and if you have won the personal battle for your mind (2 Cor. 10:4-5). These are the areas I had to nail down (and still am by the way!).
In this passage, Paul puts it like this to Timothy; that he will be taken seriously if…he has reined in his speech and manner of life, if he has loved others more than himself, if he has been proven faithful both to God and man in the little things, and if he is keeping his heart pure by keeping it according to God’s word (Psalm 119:9-11).
Theses are the things that cause you to be older and wiser than your years. Then you’re ready to be replicated i.e. an example, in the church.
It’s one thing to talk a good game, another thing to walk it.